Leave the dogs home

Independence Day: dozens of dogs lose their way when they are frightened by the noise of the fireworks and the din of the celebrations

Independence Day is a big holiday for the citizens of Israel, but to our sorrow it is also a very sad day for many dogs. While we express our joy in noisy celebration accompanied by music, plastic noise hammers, firecrackers and spectacular displays of fireworks, many frightened dogs run away out of fear of the loud noise, and become lost. This response of the dogs stems from their well developed senses of smell and hearing. The reception range of the tones and frequencies that they receive is greater than that of humans by at least five times, and therefore they are very frightened by what our ears pick up as powerful blasts.

Every year on the eve of Independence Day and on the days following it dozens of lost dogs are brought to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel. Some of them accompanied their owners to the festivities on the eve of the holiday and ran away when they heard the noise of the fireworks, and some of them succeeded in running away from their homes. We do our utmost to return the dogs to their owners, but unfortunately some of them do not have the electronic chips that are necessary for finding the owners, and sometimes the owners don’t even come to locate their lost dogs.

What to do?
1. In order to prevent the sorrow and frustration of the lost dog and the owners searching for it, the solution is easy – don’t take the dog out of the house.
2. Try to arrange to walk the dog before the festivities begin and after them. Dogs that stay in the yard should be brought into the house so that they will be exposed to less noise.
3. Furthermore, make sure that all the windows and doors in the house are shut securely.
4. Make sure the dog has an electronic chip, and that all details are updated at The National Chip Data-Base of the Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, it is recommended to attach a tag to the dog’s collar with your up-to-date details and telephone numbers.
5. If the dog is fearful of the noise of fireworks, fight your instinct to pet and calm it – thus reinforcing its fear – and simply ignore it.
6. In order to prevent your pet running away, make sure the door is kept shut and locked and that there are no other avenues of escape that might tempt your pet to go out.

If, in spite of our pleading for you to leave the dog at home, you still decide to take the dog with you to the recreational sites, please watch over it very carefully and be sure to keep it close to you, secured with its leash and collar.
We wish you a Happy Independence Day!


Dogs and Winter – Advice and Tips

Help your dog get through the winter happily and safely

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 

The cold season has arrived, bringing with it strong winds, heavy rainfall, low temperatures thunder and lightning. The SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer, Naomi Rolnik, presents some tips that will help your dog get through the winter happily and safely.

It’s Cold Outside
Dog owners whose pets are used to living outside should check that the kennels are rainproof. In addition, it is recommended to line kennels with thick blankets that are good for snuggling. The strong wind may blow unstable objects around, Please take care to tidy up the yard or balcony and to get rid of objects that are likely to hurt your dog.

Nice and Warm Inside
When we are away from the house and not heating it, the indoor temperatures can be quite low so it is worthwhile lining the dog’s bed with a cozy blanket. Short-haired dogs tend to suffer more from the cold, but there are also long-haired dogs that like the warmth and enjoy snuggling up somewhere warm. Those dogs should be dressed in a suitable sweater.

A walk in the rain
The cold may cause dogs, particularly the smaller breeds, to relieve themselves more frequently. It is also quite possible that because of the cold, they will make mistakes and wet the house. In order to avoid this, we recommend taking them for more outings than usual. If your dog doesn’t like going out in the rain, take advantage of the breaks in the rainfall to take your dog out and allow him to expend as much energy as possible. Energy release eases the dog’s stress. In the case of really rainy days when it is impossible to take your dog out for walks, we suggest allowing him to let off some steam in the house with a ball, other toys or even with a walker.

Thunder and Tension
Some dogs don’t get upset about the winter weather while others may be stressed out by thunder, lightning, wind and even slammed doors. If your dog is sensitive, we suggest locating a place in the house where he feels secure, putting a warm blanket there for him, and, when the noises make him nervous, ignoring him and refraining from petting him. If your dog is used to a travel cage, these are precisely the times to allow him to go into one. Our instincts, as people, are to display sympathy and understanding and to identify with the stress that the dog is undergoing. However, by stroking the dog we just reinforce his fear and increase his stress. If your dog becomes overly stressed or even harms himself, consult with a dog trainer or veterinarian in order to find a solution through appropriate treatment.

Have a safe and warm winter!

The SPCA Supports Residents of the South

The SPCA is offering free kennel services for animals belonging to residents of the South

In light of the escalation in the South of the country, in order to prevent the animals’ pain and suffering and to help the residents of the South to contend with the difficult situation, the SPCA has opened its doors and invited all residents of the South who have difficulty looking after their pets, to house them without charge in the SPCA kennels and cat shelter till the danger is past. Despite the difficulties, the SPCA calls upon residents of the South not to abandon their pets to the streets and promises to give all the animals who reach its facilities the best possible care.

Residents of the South are welcome to come with their pets to the SPCA dog and cat shelter at 159 Herzl Street, Tel Aviv, to bring along their own ID cards and their pets’ valid vaccination certificates. For further details, please call us at: *4553.

The sirens and explosions can scare animals and cause them to run away from home. In order to protect your pets, it is important to adhere to the following recommendations:
1. Close the windows and doors so that the animals cannot run away in times of stress.
2. During these difficult times, avoid going out with your pets for long walks far from home.
3. Don’t take your dog out for walks without a leash.
4. Prepare a soft and cozy corner where your pet can hide in the secure area of your home.
5. If your dog runs away or expresses anxiety during alarms, try to avoid positive reinforcement of this behavior through excess expressions of affection and petting that the dog will then associate with anxiety behavior.
6. Ensure that the dog has its microchip as required by Law, to facilitate finding it should it run away.

Together we are hoping for quiet days ahead.

A Matter of Age

Just been demobilized? Before you adopt a pet, there are some things you should take into account

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 

Many parents get never-ending pleas from their children to adopt a dog, and one of the responses they give is “When you have your own home you’ll be able to do whatever you want”. One outcome of this sense of deprivation is that the moment these children do grow up and rent their first apartment, they rush to adopt a dog.

If you are one of those guys in their twenties who have recently been released from military service, there are some things that you should take into account before you take that step and adopt a dog:

– A dog is like a child; though caring for a dog is less intensive than caring for a child and though it is possible to leave a dog alone at home for a few hours at a time, the responsibility is long-term. Any time you want to leave home for more than nine hours, you will have to make arrangements for your dog to be taken out for a walk, to assure that he has food and water. Amongst young people, the element of spontaneity is often dominant and can clash with the responsibility towards your pet and the routine that caring for a dog demands.

– Many newly released soldiers take the same route, and immediately after demobilization, they look for work that will help them save money for their grand tour abroad. When they have earned the necessary funds, they have to find some organized place which will agree to accept their dog for a period of six months or even longer. So they provided the dog with a warm home and took care of it, but what now? The parents do not want to take a dog into their home, the friends are busy or going off on a long trip themselves, a boarding kennels for a long period of time will take up a huge chunk of their hard-won budget so there is no choice but to give the dog up for adoption.

– The apartment rental market in Israel is difficult, and many apartment owners add a clause in the rental agreements stipulating that keeping pets is prohibited in their property. In addition, young people in the 20-30 year age group tend to move apartments frequently, and sometimes they are forced to give away their dogs under pressure, just because the rental agreement for a reasonable apartment that they found at the last minute prohibits keeping animals.

– Finally, think about the dog’s needs: apart from being taken for walks and being trained, the dog needs veterinary care, food, toys and treatment against ticks and fleas. All of these cost a substantial amount of money that often is not readily available for young people and students who are employed in part-time or temporary jobs.

It is true that there are many young people out there who are ready to take on the kind of responsibility that raising a dog demands. No matter what, they will never give their dogs away, even if this means making compromises about their own comforts or reducing expenses during economically pressing times. On the other hand, many dogs are given to us by their owners who didn’t give enough thought to the long-term realities of raising a dog. These dogs are forced to live in dog pounds or shelters when they are already two or three years of age and have to compete for the attention of potential adopters against adorable puppies that are almost irresistible.

Finally, before you adopt a pet who will want to be your lifelong and faithful friend, please, think ahead. Take your own immediate and future plans into account and only then decide if you want to adopt an animal at this stage or if perhaps it is preferable to wait a little till your own life reaches a more stable stage.

To See the Final Picture

Fallen in love with a half-breed puppy? When he is fully grown, his size will affect the whole family

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 


Most abandoned dogs that reach the various dog pounds and shelters are half-breeds, a great many of them puppies, and one cannot always tell exactly how they will look when they are fully grown. There are some indications that help us to assess more or less the height and weight of the adult dog, such as their paws in relation to the rest of their bodies, or their present physical size in comparison with other puppies their age. Such estimations can only be carried out on the basis of professional experience, and so many people who come to adopt such a dog have difficulty imagining the final size that the dog will reach and as a result, often err in their choice.

A significant difference: the dog, Haver, at the age of three months and at two years old.
A significant difference: the dog, Haver, at the age of three months and at two years old.

The size of the adult dog is one of the important points that a family with children should take into account. In cases when the parents are planning that the kids will take the dog out for walks, they should choose a dog of suitable dimensions, one that the children will be able to lead and not the other way around. In addition, it is important to know that larger dogs generally demand more exercise. A dog weighing 20 kilos in comparison with a child weighing 10 kilos more, does not add up to equal strength; a dog has greater muscle mass than a child, therefore the chances are that when the dog sees something interesting on the other side of the road, it will pull in that direction and it is not certain that the child will be able to stop it.

In such a situation, either the child will let go of the leash, putting the dog at risk crossing the street alone, or the child will fall and is liable to get hurt, or at least grazed, by the time the dog decides to come to a halt.

During my work as an adoption counselor in the SPCA, I have come across very many cases of families adopting puppies with only some rough idea as to their future size, and then, some months later, returning them to us on the grounds that they are too big. Therefore, I recommend that families wishing to adopt a dog take some parameters into consideration, such as who will be the principle care giver of the dog, the size of the home and of course, the time and energy that all members of the family are willing to devote to the dog.

We in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel provide consultation at every adoption, both by means of adoption counselors, responsible for the adoption process, and also by our veterinarians. In other adoption cases, in order to prevent suffering both to the family and, especially, to the dog, we recommend applying for professional advice.

Main photo: Na’ama with her dog Laney at one-and-a-half months and at ten months old.

My Family and Other Animals

When adopting an animal, the whole family should be involved in the choice

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 

Adopting a dog or cat brings, without doubt, a significant change in the family dynamics, affecting everyone. Even if one member of the family takes on the responsibility of being the main caretaker, the choice still has to suit all the others.

As a result of our wide experience in giving pets up for adoption, for many years now we, at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel, have been operating proceedings titled “Responsible Adoption”. The goal of this process is to reach maximum compatibility between the dog or cat and the adopters so that the animal will be able to live in its new home for the rest of its life and will not be abandoned again for reasons of incompatibility. During the process, the adopters read and sign a special form and have a meeting with one of the Society’s adoption counselors, during which we check if the adopters are able to provide the animal with all its needs and if they understand the obligation and responsibility involved in adoption.

As a result of cases when dogs or cats were returned from adoption because one of those involved decided that the choice was not suitable, we decided that, in the case of animal adoption by a family or other persons, the whole family or all those involved should come to the Society to be an inseparable part of the selection process. Everyone has to meet the new animal, to see how they get on with it. In the case of dogs, they should ascertain that the size of the dog suits and that the children are able to take it out for walks, that no member of the family has any hesitation or fear, if the energies suit the style of the family, and so on.

Following are some points for consideration:

The responsibility lies with the parents’: Very often adopters come to us claiming that it really doesn’t make any difference to their partners which animal they choose. Following our insistence upon everyone joining the process, sometimes, when the partners do come to the Society, they end up choosing a different animal. Sometimes, fathers come along with their children and say that the mother agrees to adopt a pet. On many occasions, when the mother actually comes or talks to us by phone, we discover that she does not agree to raise a dog in the house at all. In other cases, following a routine conversation with an adoption counselor, the parents realize that it is not realistic to expect a small child to take care of all the pet’s needs by itself and that they, the parents are the ones who have to take responsibility. Then we ask them to take time to reconsider and decide if they really are ready to start the process.

Animals do not make good gifts: A dog is a pack animal and will try to find its place also within the family unit. There are dogs that get along very well with adults but would have difficulty accepting the authority of a six-year-old child. Imagine, for instance, a situation where parents surprise their child with a dog that he has wanted so much but, when they bring the dog home, it bares its teeth when the child wants to take away its ball. Involving the child in the adoption process will prevent such situations that are detrimental both to the child and the dog, that will probably be returned to the dog pound. On occasion people come to us with the intention of adopting an animal for a friend or relative as a birthday gift. Also in such cases, we insist that the recipient of the gift should come to the Society to choose the animal. This is not a case of a new shirt or pair of shoes that can be exchanged or put aside when the owner gets tired of it, but a pet that will accompany its owner for many years. The new owners are the ones who will have to take care of their pet’s specific requirements, will become attached to it, to its story and its personality, and will raise it for the rest of its life.

Animals and the elderly: A pet is a loyal lifelong friend who can contribute wonderfully to older people who spend much of their days alone. A pet will give them a reason to go out of the house to walk, it loves to be caressed and snuggle and provides an interesting topic of conversation. Sometimes people come to us wishing to adopt an animal for their grandmother or grandfather, but pick out a dog or cat to which they themselves are attracted and then, at home, they discover that the dog is too energetic or that the cat’s litter box is not welcome in the house.

We know that the adopters have only good intentions and we want to find warm homes for all the cats and dogs in the SPCA, but first and foremost, we take into consideration the welfare of the animal itself and assess if the new house is going to be suitable in the long run. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing more disappointing than an animal that is returned to the Society because the wrong choice was made and did not suit the adopters. So, if you are considering adopting a pet, please devote some time to the process, as it is one that will greatly affect your life. Consider the advantages and the disadvantages, check how much free time you have at your disposal, remember that the children will grow up and leave the house while the animal will still be there. Think about the possible destruction of household items and all the other consequences. Once you have made your decision, come to us as a full family delegation, take the dog for a walk or spend some time with the cat in the cats’ home, and until you all reach a consensus, don’t hurry to adopt your new pet.

Main photo: The complete Gal family (the parents Na’ama and Dani, and the children Dana and Itai) when adopting three-month-old Max, about one year ago.

Seeking Adopting Families – With Lots of Patience!

When dogs are adopted as puppies and are not house-trained appropriately, they find it difficult to find adoptive homes if they are abandoned

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 


Dog owners’ limited free time, despair, or simply a lack of experience and know-how – all comprise the reasons that we have been coming across more and more dogs lately who reach the age of a year or more without being house-trained.

From the moment a puppy reaches the age of three months and has received all the first vaccinations, it is time to start accustoming it to relieve itself outside. This is a difficult task, requiring a great deal of patience and effort by the owners. Since a puppy cannot control itself for many hours, at first the walks outside must take place frequently, every three hours. During the learning process, when the dog does relieve himself outside, it is important to positively reinforce his behavior and in this way lead him to understand that relieving himself outside the home is acceptable behavior.

There are many advantages to adopting a puppy, but when making the decision to do so, one must first and foremost consider the puppy’s welfare, his basic needs and if you are in a position to fulfill them. When you take in a puppy and then leave him alone in the house for eight hours, don’t expect him to train himself or learn how to control his needs on his own. The dog will relieve himself in the house for lack of any alternative and if there is no one there to correct him, he will simply understand that that is acceptable behavior, and the habit of relieving himself in the shower or on the balcony (or wherever he is kept), will stick.

Such situations lead the owners to despair and in some case to the decision to give the dog away. The problem is that the dog is now no longer an adorable, sweet puppy with very high chances of being adopted, but a grown dog who has still not been house-trained, making his chances of finding a new home drop drastically. In this way, both sides lose: the dog, who has to compete with tens of other dogs for the attention of potential adopters, when his opening hand is problematic, and the owners, who often feel frustrated and that they have missed an opportunity, especially when there are children involved in the sorry story.

If a puppy is not house-trained during the critical period when he is supposed to learn the rules, it is more difficult to correct his behavior at a later stage. Training at a later stage demands much more patience and effort on the trainer’s behalf and in some cases intervention by a professional trainer is required. These are cases of adorable dogs that have difficulty finding homes, through no fault of their own but as a result of their owner’s behavior. All they ask is to be given a second chance with new owners who will invest the time and effort to train them and who will receive so much love in return.

Sandy, Lucy, Bella and Pinocchio are just some examples of this phenomenon. Sandy, a nine-month-old miniature pincher, was found on the street by an elderly couple who reared her for a few months. Their inexperience caused them to stick cloth diapers on her instead of house-training her. In the last few weeks the sores, that were caused by the adhesive used to keep the diapers on, have healed, and now she needs owners who, in addition to training her, will help to restore her self-confidence. Lucy is a friendly, adorable one-and-a-half year old bitch who is simply longing for attention. Hew owners never completed her house-training and she still has ‘accidents’, but with a little goodwill and correct direction, she will quickly learn and will be a wonderful dog for any family. Bella and Pinocchio are ten-month-old brothers who reached us when they were only one month old, and who lived in the dogs’ home before being adopted together. A few months later they were abandoned again, still not house-trained, and now they are waiting impatiently for patient adopters – even if this means each one going to a separate home.

In addition to these dogs, there are tens of dogs and cats waiting here with us for a warm and loving home. You are invited to come and choose your new friend-for-life here in the SPCA.

Left behind

Phenomenon: dogs and cats are being left in summer, when their owners travel abroad

Every summer, when the summer holidays begins and many people go on vacation or use the summer holiday for transfer abroad, many pets are being left. Unfortunately, instead of making an effort to take the pets with them or to find them appropriate place, the people leaving for a vacation prefer the easiest solution and leave their pets – in the best case, in one of the associations, hoping that the pets will quickly find a new family. In other cases, the cats and the dogs that are used to live in a warm and loving home and to feel an integral part of the family are being thrown to streets.

Buffy, a half-bred terrier year and a half old, has recently been brought to the Society because his owners went abroad
Buffy, a half-bred terrier year and a half old, has recently been brought to the Society because his owners went abroad

Transportation of pets abroad is a complicated process, since each state has its own laws and specific requirements in respect of pets’ entrance to this state. Some countries require long isolation period. Some countries requite long isolation period, while others require making tests at least three months before the travel. In addition, each aviation company has its own rules regarding the pets’ transportation.

If you are going to move abroad, it is recommended to get prepared in advance to transportation of pets. In case it is impossible for some reason, the Association will adopt the pet, but we recommend to the owners to try to find a proper home and to see themselves that the pet is in good hands and to keep contact with the adopting family. Information about transportation of pets abroad can be obtained on the Internet and in various aviation companies, in accordance with the destination. In addition, there are companies which specialize in this field, and their experience can simplify the procedure and save expensive time.

To those who go for a vacation in Israel or abroad, we recommend to use the services of our pension, which will be glad to host your pets for low prices. In the pension of the Society, each pet has its special cage. The experienced team pays great attention and many pampering to the pets. In addition, the pension is observed by our veterinaries that test the pets every day. For additional information please call: *4553.

Mica, a one-year-old half-bred Golden retriever, was abandoned by her owners
Mica, a one-year-old half-bred Golden retriever, was abandoned by her owners



(Not for) Free Lessons

Adopted a dog? Its behavior is problematic? Don't rush to give it away – invest in training lessons instead

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer 

My name is Johnny and I am a young poodle, less than two years old. I know that I am good looking and attractive, I have a coat that doesn’t shed, am a small breed, am energetic and no one really has to be nervous in my company…so why am I so sad?

When I was two months old a family bought me – a single-parent, pampering and loving mother with two daughters aged 15 and 9. I came into my new home and was very happy. I was petted endlessly, had toys, and what I liked most of all was the bone that they gave me sometimes just because I was a bit of a pest…that was when I was just getting my new teeth and had to have something to chew!

During that time, everything seemed to me to be rosy: walks every few hours, snacks with the girls, leftovers from the meals, and best of all were the nights when, even though they had bought me my own bed, and given me a soft, comfy blanket, I preferred to sleep with Mom in her bed.< br>
But then the problems began. Once, when I jumped on them, they would laugh; when I bit their legs, they were happy; when someone came into the house I defended them with all my soul, scaring the stranger away with my barking. How could I have known that she just wanted to pet me that day, when I was chewing my bone on one of the couches, and I gave her a little bite so that in the future she wouldn’t touch my things…

Then came the muzzle. Suddenly they started to chase me around the house before we went out for a walk and tried to shut my mouth. I, who protect the child outside from any strange man or dog! They took me to be sterilized as a punishment. I didn’t really know what was going on there and it was pretty scary, but I got over that also and they took me home. All I wanted was for them to let me sleep in peace. I don’t like it when they wander around at night in the house, and I don’t want to be moved when I am asleep in bed just because they want to straighten the blanket.

I remember that day in the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when Mom said that she doesn’t know what to do with me anymore.

I wasn’t really sure if she meant to leave me there or just to get advice from the staff and take a few training lessons.

Johnny’s story is shared by many other dogs, and in my work as a dog trainer and adoption counselor in the SPCA I have come across many instances of people who have adopted dogs, are contending with their pets’ behavior problems and are sometimes even considering giving them away. It is important to understand that most of the problems can be solved with one training lesson (or a short course of lessons) or even by reading on the internet about training and establishing limits for your dog. It is so sad to see those dogs that people buy, sometimes for thousands of shekels, that, when things go wrong, are simply sold or given to the Society instead of their owners investing a little effort to read relevant information or a little money in training lessons (small sums in comparison with the cost of adoption and the ongoing expenses of rearing a dog). And one more point – when there are children involved, the message that they get from such a move is very problematic.

If you have adopted a dog – take responsibility and learn how to educate it and not only how to pamper it.

And the Cat will Dwell with the Dog

You have a dog and are thinking of adopting a cat, or the other way around? Here are some tips that will shatter the myth

Na’ama Rolnik, SPCA Adoption Counselor and dog trainer

Many dogs enjoy chasing cats on the street. They are driven mainly by a strong hunting instinct, but when they reach the cat, the game is over. My dog, for instance, loves to make all the cats in the vicinity climb up the trees and then, when she has accomplished her mission, she comes back home, satisfied and happy. This does not prevent her from growing up in a house with two cats and living with them in perfect harmony.

If you are considering taking in a cat into your home, it is important to verify if your dog limits its enjoyment to displaying its hunting instinct, if it is, perhaps, totally indifferent towards cats, or, in the worst case – is aggressive towards cats, which will force you to abandon the idea of adopting a cat. Should your dog be indifferent to cats or social at a moderate, controllable level of enthusiasm, then you can bring a cat into your home.

In such a situation, it is advisable to bring a kitten so that it can learn to live with and accept the dog as an inseparable part of the household, and, more importantly, to protect the dog. An adult cat that comes into a new family and is under stress may take all its aggressions out on the dog and cause damage, the most problematic being a scratched eye. If you still want to adopt an adult cat, it is recommended to choose one that grew up with dogs or a breed with a quiet temperament such as a Persian or British cat.

If you are rearing a cat and have decided that you are ready to add a dog to your household, it is worthwhile taking the age of the cat into consideration. If the cat is ten years old, has never seen a dog and is a nervous type, it will probably take it a very long time to become accustomed, if it ever will. The ideal situation is when your cat is still a kitten that is still open and receptive to change and can grow accustomed to a dog. However, if your cat is fully grown then there are two optimal options: the first is to adopt an adult dog that grew up with cats or an adult dog that is indifferent to cats. This option suits mainly those who are not able to undertake raising a puppy. The second option is to adopt a puppy. A puppy is far more energetic, which may stress out the cat, but on the other hand, a puppy will learn to accept the cat and to live with it in equanimity.

It should be understood that in all cases of adoption there will be an acclimatization period during which it is not recommended to leave the dog and cat together in the same area without supervision. If you have taken a dog into your home, it is advisable to limit it to one defined area in the house, enabling the cat to wander freely around the rest of the house, and to do the opposite if you have brought a new cat to a home where a dog already lives. The interaction between them must be controlled and it is recommended to leave a leash on the dog when it is near the cat to enable you to control it quickly.